A Train Trip to Remember
by: Miguel Sanchez
© 2008 by the author
The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the
author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...
I followed trying not to let him see me. Neither of his parents seemed to be glad to see him. It was more like he was in their way then I heard the conductor shout, "All aboard."
I got back on the train and sat there thinking about this kid who suddenly came into my life. I'm glad I'm managed to give him my email address so we could keep in touch but I wondered if he really would write.
During my stay in Georgia I checked every day but hadn't gotten a thing from JC. The 4 days seemed to drag on because all I could think about was JC and how miserable he must be. I was hoping what he'd told me about his parents was more teen growing pains but when I saw how his father acted, that seemed to have told me the whole story.
The day I left for home, I was checking through my mail on the train before I lost signal. I found an email from JC. It read, "Jerry, I've had a bad time here and I have to go back to the hospital. I'll be on the Sunday train. I know it's the same one you'll be on. See you there."
My heart tried to leave my chest as I read that. I couldn't believe his parent's were so uncaring they wouldn't take him back to the hospital in their car. The ride to Jacksonville seemed to take forever. As we pulled into the station, I managed to see JC standing on the platform all alone. I knew he'd be getting on in the berthing section so all I could do was wait until we left the station. I was sitting in an outside seat so he'd be able to find me without any trouble. I saw the door open from the front of the car and there stood JC. It was all I could do to keep from running to him then picking him up in my arms. As he saw me coming towards him, he turned and I followed him back to his berth. As soon as we were inside, he fell into my arms sobbing. "Oh god Jerry, this trip home was the worst. As soon as we pulled into the driveway, I got my things out of the trunk then they took off."
I led him over to the seat then took him into my arms. I cuddled and rocked him as he cried himself out. I was worried though that had to go back to the hospital. I managed to wipe the tears from his eyes then look at him. "Now why do you have to go back to the hospital so early?"
He gave me an impish grin. "Well, it was the only way I could get out of the house Jerry. My parents took off on me and I was alone by myself until Saturday night. By then I was so miserable I told them I wasn't feeling well. They called my doctor and he said for them to get me back."
I didn't know if I wanted to kill him or kiss him. "You had me scared out of my mind with your email."
He leaned in and kissed me gently on the lips. "I'm sorry Jerry; I didn't have much time to explain things."
Now I was confused. "Explain things?"
He nodded his head. "Yeah, where is your computer?"
In my eagerness to get to JC I forgot my computer and carry on bag. I went down and got them then plugged the computer in and fired it up. JC set it on his lap then started typing away. I gasped when I saw the site he pulled up. "OK kiddo, what do you have on your mind?"
He set the computer down then looked at me. "I've had it Jerry. I can't take my parents any more. It's more than obvious to me they don't care about me. Hell, they can't even be bothered to visit me when I'm in the hospital."
I could see the pain in his eyes. I don't know if I could handle what he's going through at my age alone much less at 15. "Have you given this a lot of thought?"
He looked into my eyes. "Yes Jerry I have. I may only be 15 but I've found out a few things."
Now he had my interest piqued. "Go on," I said as he cuddled onto my lap.
"Well, I finally figured out why my parents are acting this way. When I was alone this time, I went snooping. I found some papers from a lawyer. You see, my parents aren't my natural parents, they're my adoptive parents."
I had to stop him there. "JC, people that adopt children aren't bad. I mean, they picked you out of all the others."
He tried to smile. "At first yeah Jerry but everything started to change when I got sick. It was like suddenly I was damaged goods. I had to spend more and more time in the hospital than when I was home."
He nearly had me in tears as I listened to him. "God man, I can't imagine how lonely you felt. So what's your plan?"
He gave me another impish grin. "Well, part of it involves you."
I shook my head to make sure I'd heard correctly. "Me?"
He giggled and nodded. "Yeah and I guess I should have talked to you a little before. But like I was saying, I found some papers but more importantly, I found something for my future. It seems my grandmother was furious when I was put up for adoption. I don't know the reasons but there is a trust set up for me when I turn 18. It says I can get a monthly allowance which will be more than plenty for me to live on."
I stopped him again. "What about your education son? I don't want you just doing nothing with your life."
He looked down, "Some life."
I lifted his chin up and gave him a stern look. "OK it's not been a bed of roses but you're alive and if I have anything to say, you're going to stay that way and beat this."
He was a little taken aback with my firmness. He stared at me then smiled. "Well, I haven't really thought about that. I know there is time as I'll have to catch up in school. What I was hoping was maybe you'd like to be my guardian. Right now, no one can touch any of the money in the trust. My grandmother didn't want me getting adopted just so someone could put their hands on that money. But when I'm 16, my parents can take some money out for certain things they would need for me."
It seems JC has done some real thinking here. "OK, how much time is there until your next birthday?"
He smiled. "Well, that's another surprise, it's tomorrow."
He dug into his backpack and pulled out some papers handing them to me. "You took those trust papers?"
He grinned. "Yep, well technically they are mine. In there is the name of the lawyer handling this and I want to call him to see if he can handle the divorce."
I couldn't believe my ears. Here was an almost 16 year old boy talking about divorcing his adoptive parents. I looked at him and I saw love in those eyes. "JC, how are you going to handle me being your parent?"
He cuddled against my chest. "A hell of a lot better than with the ones I have now. You give me attention, you talk to me and you make me feel special."
JC rummaged through the papers. He found an old business card and I wondered if the information on it was even correct. It was a Sunday so I knew his office would be closed. But as I looked closer and there was another number that said residence. I looked at my cell phone and I had a good signal. I decided to take a chance and see if this guy was even alive. I looked at the card again and was in for another surprise. His phone numbers were local for me. JC had the computer and was looking more at the web site. I punched in the phone number then waited, "Ike Fletcher's residence."
Well, someone was there. "May I speak to Mr. Fletcher please?"
I had to hold on then a voice said, "This is Ike Fletcher."
I told the man who I was and a little about JC and his trust. "Mr. Fletcher, JC seems very adamant about looking for a way out of his current situation."
"Mr. Miles, I'm more than a little informed here. Part of the stipulations in the trust is that I get routine reports on JC's life. Several years ago, I was notified about the goings on when he was diagnosed with leukemia. His parents wanted only the barest of treatments for him but in actuality, it was I behind the scenes that got him the treatment he's getting today."
I was really taken aback. "Sir, there isn't really anything wrong with JC right now that really warrants him being in the hospital. He just said he wasn't feeling well so he could get out of the house. I know today is Sunday and tomorrow is a holiday so it looks like he's going to have to spend at least 2 days there. To top it all off, tomorrow is his birthday."
I heard him giggle. "Not to worry sir. I know a few judges that owe me a favor or two. I've had papers done up for some time now just waiting until the boy decided to take this step on his own."
"Will you contact the hospital and let them know about the changes? Oh and one more thing. What about his parents? Won't the hospital call them when he doesn't show?"
I was getting worried. "Not to worry Jerry, I'll take care of all that. I guess I should ask if you can handle taking care of JC."
I was curious as to how he figured out I'd be caring for JC but I figured he put 2 and 2 together. JC was looking at me reaching for the phone. "Umm sir, JC is reaching for the phone."
"That's fine; I'd like to speak with him too."
I was really confused. I handed JC the phone then listened. The conversation seemed a little one sided as JC listened more than talk but just before he hung up he had a big smile on his face. "Jerry, I guess I roped you into this and if you're angry at me, I understand."
I pulled him onto my lap and hugged him. "Surprised yeah but not mad. No one needs to be put through what you have been."
He put his head on my shoulder then took my hand and moved it towards his crotch. He looked at me with that impish grin. "Not now JC, we have a few other things to talk about."
He looked a little dejected but smiled as he moved my hand. "Sure Jerry, what do we need to talk about?"
"Well, for starters, I want to meet your doctors. I would like to know what they're doing and what they think about the long term for you. I know you're gonna be sick at times and that won't turn me away from being there for you. I'll need to know what I have to do."
He looked surprised then he looked down. "Gee Jerry, I didn't think of all that."
I lifted his chin. "Don't worry about it. You had something else on your mind and I can't really blame you. I'll also need your school records. I want to know how far behind you are."
Now you'd have thought he was about to get the biggest shot in the butt when I said that. "Do you really have to?"
I looked at him and he gave me an "I give up look back." "Yes kiddo, I do. School is important and I'll help you at home so you won't fall too far behind."
He laid his head against my chest. "You sound like my Dad before I got sick."
I wasn't trying to replace his Dad. "I'm not trying to replace him."
His head spun around and tears began to fall. "I want you too Jerry. He doesn't love me or he'd never have left me all alone. Don't you understand?"
I just did and I hugged him. "I do now little man. I've never thought about being a parent before but I really like the idea."
"Do you think you could adopt me?"
He slapped his hand over his mouth. I moved it and he had that impish grin again. "I don't know about that son."
He smiled. "I like that, you just called me son."
It came out so naturally then he started giggling. "And what just went through your mind?"
He was still giggling. "I'm thinking I might like to call you Dad."
The thought of that was rather appealing. "I think I could get used to that."
He gave that smile of his again then tried to tickle me. At first he succeeded in getting me giggling but soon I had the tables turned and he was laughing to beat the band. "Stop, please, hehe, or I'll wet myself, hehe..."
I didn't need him making a mess so I relented and stopped. He laid there gasping catching his breath all the time smiling up at me. It was good to see him smile. Once he'd caught his breath, I helped him sit back up. "Are you OK son?"
He hugged me tightly. "I'm fine, that was the most fun I've had in ages. I know we've only really met but I like you Jerry and you seem to really care about me for me."
He was fidgeting a little. "Go to the bathroom squirt, it looks like you're about to bust."
He hurried into the little bathroom/shower leaving the door open. He pulled his shorts and undies down in one motion then wiggled his butt at me as he looked over his shoulder with that impish grin on his face. After doing his business he turned around before pulling his stuff back up. I could tell he was trying to flirt and had we had more time, I might have played along. Just then I heard the conductor announce our station. JC looked up at me. "I guess this is where we get off now huh?"
I got the computer packed away and put the backpack on JC. I grabbed my small carry bag in his duffle then headed for the exit. I had one more bag to get so JC and I waited until the bags came off. I pulled the handle up on my checked bag then set my carryon over the handle. I motioned to JC as we started walking towards a cab stand. We'd taken a few steps when a man approached. "Excuse me but I'm Ike Fletcher."
I extended my hand towards him. "I didn't expect you to meet us. I'm Jerry Miles and this is JC Martin."
I watched as the man looked at JC. He shook my hand then patted JC on the shoulder. "It's nice to meet you both and JC, you don't have a thing to worry about. If you'll follow me, my car is parked over here."
We followed Ike to his car. He took our bags and put them in the trunk then we got inside the car. I told him where I lived and about 15 minutes later we were pulling into the driveway. I had a number of questions running through my mind. "Ike, would you mind coming in? I have a few questions to ask."
He nodded his head. "I'm sure you do."
We grabbed our bags out of the trunk then I unlocked the front door. My house wasn't big but it was roomy and comfortable. I took JC's bag and motioned for him to follow me. I went past my room and showed him the second room. "This is your room son. How are you fixed for clothes? I'm sure I'll have to take you shopping."
He giggled. "I packed more than I normally do Jerry. I hoped this would work out like it has."
He looked towards the ground then I lifted his chin. "At least you came prepared. There is a dresser you can put your underwear and such in and hangers in the closet for your other things. I'll be in the living room with Mr. Fletcher."
I went back out to be with our guest. As soon as I sat, Ike fired his first question at me. "OK, what is it you'd like to know?"
I thought for a moment but there was one thing really eating at me. "You said you'd been getting reports about JC and you'd been expecting this. I hate to be so blunt but what gives?"
He giggled. "A reasonable question sir," Ike said when JC came into the room. "You see, I'm a little more than just a lawyer."
JC looked confused. "What do you mean more than just a lawyer?"
It was then I was really looking at Ike and JC. "Well JC, your grandmother was my older sister."
JC and I looked at each other with our mouths hanging open. "You mean you're JC's great uncle?"
He nodded his head. "Yep and my sister was fit to be tied when she put JC up for adoption. My sister talked me into finding suitable families along with one other thing."
JC got up and went into his room then quickly returned. "You mean this trust."
He handed Ike the papers then sat back down beside me. "Yes, this trust. Like I said, my sister was livid when JC was put up for adoption so she had me redo her will. Everything she had was to be left to JC but I gave her a few pieces of advice."
I smiled, "You mean that no one could touch the trust until JC turns 16, which by the way is tomorrow."
Ike nodded his head, "Yep because by then JC should be a happy healthy teen in a loving family. I know about tomorrow Jerry and I have this for you JC."
JC scooted closer to me reaching to what Ike was holding then Ike's statement sunk in. "But that seems far from the case. For me? You didn't have to do that Uncle Ike, you hardly even know me.
Again he nodded his head. "Sadly you're right Jerry and that's why I called in a favor with a family court judge. Tuesday you, JC and I will be in court for an emergency hearing. I told you I had papers sitting for such an emergency. I only hoped that they would never be needed but such is not the case. Jerry, you are his temporary legal guardian until that time. As for the envelope, I've had that for a long time and I know you better than you think."
JC gasped as he opened the envelope. Oh Uncle, I can't accept this. But what about my parents, they know about the trust. I don't think they're going to sit by and just do nothing."
Ike came over and sat beside his great nephew. "That's what I'm hoping for kiddo. You see, a good lawyer never goes into court without being totally prepared. I've talked with the hospital social worker. I've learned she's tried many times to get one of your parents up to the hospital when you've been really out of it from some of your treatments and every time they had one excuse after another. I know a lot of the judges here and they don't take kindly to that type of behavior. By the way, here is the ATM card and the PIN number so you can access your account."
I looked at JC who was still in shock over Ike's gift and I had no idea how much money we were talking about. "I think I should hold on to that, don't you?"
He looked surprised by what I'd said. JC looked at Ike and I could see he thought I had a good idea then back at me. He didn't say anything at first but I could tell the wheels were turning in his head. "I don't want to lose it, that's for sure. Alright Jerry, you hold it."
We talked for a few more minutes then Ike had to go. JC and I walked him to the door then watched him leave. As he drove away, JC put his arm around my waist and pulled my head down kissing my cheek. "I guess it sounds like you're really ready to fight for me?"
I picked him up in my arms and held him. "Yeah I am kiddo."
He kissed me once more then giggled. "Good, cause now I'm hungry."
I held him tight then wiggled my finger into his ribs causing him to squeal with laughter. I set him down then went into the kitchen to find something for the both of us to eat. I found a box of frozen chicken and got the oven pre-heating. I saw him standing in the doorway. "What do you like to eat?"
He saw the box of chicken there. "I love chicken. As far as anything else, I'm not really picky. Do you have any corn?"
I did in the freezer. "I have small frozen ears."
He lit up. "I can eat loads of that."
"When was the last time you had a decent meal son?"
He looked down. "Umm, I managed to grab something before I left home."
I went livid. "JC Martin, why didn't you tell me you were hungry?"
I shocked him when I raised my voice. "I'm sorry; I'd sprung enough on you already. Besides, I had some snacks with me if I did get hungry."
I went over and hugged him. "Alright kiddo next time I want you to let me know because you need to keep your strength up. Now, when was the last time you showered?"
He giggled, "Why do I stink?"
The water for the corn was boiling so I had to concentrate on that. "No son, you don't stink."
He giggled then hugged me. "I'll take a shower while dinner is cooking unless you need some help."
I had everything under control and told him that. JC took off down the hall for his room. I went out and got an extra set of linen out and set them on the back of the toilet. I turned around and he was standing there naked. "You're not shy, that much I can say."
He reached out then jumped into my arms. "We're both guys Jerry, it's not like we don't have the same things. Besides, you've seen me before and even more, I love you."
I looked into his eyes and he was staring into mine. I couldn't deny what I was feeling either. "I love you too son."
He wiggled a little so I set him down then he hurried over to the toilet. After flushing the toilet he gave me that impish look of his. "Care to join me?"
I had a dinner to watch. "Not this time son, besides I think someone would take for ever to get washed."
He bent over and turned the water on. After he did, he wiggled his butt at me and I couldn't resist the temptation in give it a playful smack. "Hey, that's mine."
I pulled him into a hug then patted it again. "The way you were wiggling it, I thought you were trying to give it away."
I swear at that point in time I could see horns beginning to stick out of his head as he giggled, "Only to the right person."
He turned around and his tool was standing tall. I was beginning to feel mine grow too so I decided it was best to cool it. "Later my horny toad, we have other things to sort out."
I leaned down and gave him a quick kiss on the lips then left the bathroom. I got the corn going in the water, milk and butter then put the chicken in to cook setting the timer for 45 minutes. I went into my room and unpacked. Most of what I had were put into the dirty clothes and the rest were hang up items. I got that done then went out and put on the TV. I found a HP movie and decided to leave it on. I was engrossed in it when I had a lap full of JC. He was wearing an oversized Jaguar's tee shirt. "Hiya Pops."
I wrapped my arm around him and started attacking his ribs with my finger. He started squirming with his giggles. "Pops huh, you little squirt."
He was giggling so loud but he managed to say, "Keep tickling me and I'll be squirting for sure."
He sat up and his tee shirt was up to his chest. "I see you're comfy. If you're intent on going in the buff, I don't have a problem with it just remember we will have to keep the front blinds closed."
He giggled. "What's wrong, don't you think people would like to see my cute bottom?"
I put on my best poker face. "I think you'd drop a few old people dead of a heart attack."
He just stared at me then it suddenly hit him. "Oh you."
I couldn't keep that straight face any longer as I busted out laughing. I was laughing so hard I couldn't protect myself when he started tickling me. "OK son you win; hehe..."
Thankfully he relented and stopped the assault on my ribs then hopped up raising his arms in victory. His shirt was bouncing up and down and as he did, he started getting closer to me. I reached out and playfully popped his bottom. He turned around with a mock frown then smiled. "When's dinner, I'm starving?"
Just then the bell rang letting me know the chicken was done. "I'd say as soon as I can get it dished up. Come on and give me a hand."
I got up and removed the chicken from the oven and removed the corn from the burner. After showing JC where things were, we got the food dished up and sat down to eat. JC wasn't joking when he said he loved corn on the cob. I fixed 6 mini ears and I managed to eat 2 and a few pieces of chicken. JC made short work of the other ears of corn. I got a buttery kiss for my dinner. "Thanks Jerry, that was great. I can't remember the last time I sat at a dinner table for an enjoyable meal."
I returned the kiss then wiped my face. "I hope this is just the first of many. Go wash your face and hands then after we get the dishes in the dishwasher, we can see what's on TV."
JC left the kitchen to wash his face and hands. I had everything rinsed and loaded into the dishwasher by the time he returned. He came up hugging me tightly and when I turned to look at him, he was in his all together. "I remembered what you said Dad, I closed the blinds in the living room."
This was going to really take some getting used to. I was wondering if he knew what he was doing to me. "Thanks son."
I finished loading the dishwasher and went ahead and ran it since it was just about full. JC had a devilish look on his face and I had a good idea what was on his mind. "Dad, can we have a heart to heart talk?"
To be continued...